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Christmas at Dollywood outing was magic and memorable

by Brock Huffstutler

DollywoodThe holiday spirit was on full display on Nov. 13, 2022, when members of Tennessee’s rental community gathered to take in the sights, sounds and fun at Dollywood.

More than 50 world-class rides, heartwarming holiday shows, the “Merry & Bright!” fireworks show set to festive holiday music and a picnic lunch were on tap for the approximately 115 people who were part of the ARA of Tennessee group.

“Our team had the most enjoyable time. While it was a little cold, we bundled up and allowed the magic of the Christmas lights to transport us to the start of the Christmas season,” says Brian Williams, owner, Leeper Hardware Co., Jefferson City, Tenn. Williams attended with 15 of his company’s employees and their families, and treated the event as an opportunity to make memories with his own kin. “My favorite part was my daughter and I having one-on-one time, a daddy/daughter day, and for her, riding a roller coaster for the first time. She rode the Wild Eagle and Tennessee Tornado. It will be marked in our memory books for a lifetime.”

Zachary Reed, equipment rental specialist, Sunbelt Rentals, Knoxville, Tenn., attended with another employee from Sunbelt’s Power and HVAC division and, like Williams, brought family along for the festivities.

“I had the privilege of bringing my wife and children. Our favorite part of it was the Christmas magic of Dollywood this time of year. It was an incredible time, to be able to get away from the hectic day-to-day life and spend an entire day of joy. We are truly grateful for the opportunity,” Reed says.

Brian Williams of Leeper Hardware Co., Jefferson City, Tenn., and his daughter enjoy the ARA of Tennessee outing at Dollywood

Brian Williams of Leeper Hardware Co., Jefferson City, Tenn., and his daughter enjoy the ARA of Tennessee outing at Dollywood

Jim Decatur, general manager, All Occasions Party Rentals, Knoxville, Tenn., who also serves on the ARA of Tennessee board of directors, attended with 17 of his colleagues and says that the day’s cold weather did not dampen anyone’s cheer. “It was a cold day, but everyone seemed to be getting in the Christmas spirit. It was a wonderful break from a long, busy rental season,” he says.

Williams says the group lunch offered some welcome warmth and camaraderie, and he looks forward to events like this one in the future.

“The lunch was a nice, warm place to gather and have lighthearted conversation over barbecue and dogs. Our team was grateful for the outing and experience, and we hope we get to return this time next year,” he says.